[Editor’s Note: For over 25 years, Mead Consulting has been conducting assessments at client companies to identify barriers and challenges to growth to the next level. Lack of true accountability continues to be the most frequent issue. I thought it might be useful to address accountability in this article. If you are beginning your planning cycle, a lack of accountability may impede your progress – dpm]
The Continuing Quest for Accountability
Part I – Is Lack of Accountability a Problem in My Organization
Speaking with a new client recently, the CEO asked me to identify the most frequent problem we see with our new clients. I responded, “Lack of true accountability.” He seemed skeptical and suggested that we wouldn’t find that to be true at his company. So I asked him, “Does every employee feel responsible for the company’s success and know what their role is in ensuring that success?”
It occurs to me that people have become numb to the meaning of the word, accountability, and that it always seems to apply to everyone else, some other department, etc. –“They need to be more accountable for results.”
What are some of the attributes in an organization lacking accountability?
Do any of the following look familiar?
· Unclear Vision and Direction: Employees do not know the keys to company success – or they all have different views as to what they are.
§ Goals may be unclear, confusing, or there are too many different goals
§ “We keep adding initiatives and projects and never take anything off the list.”
· Micromanaging or Command and control: Employees do not feel they have control over how to deliver results
· Lack of Job Understanding or Training: “I have never been shown what is expected”; “I didn’t receive any training”
· “I don’t know where to go for help”
· Undervalued: “No one cares about my opinion.” People do not feel their opinion is valued – that is, every employee
· People do not feel comfortable delivering bad news such as the “project is behind schedule” or “we have a major quality problem.” So they ignore or sugarcoat things.
· People do not feel trusted.
§ “I am not confident my efforts will be rewarded”
§ “I suspect that my manager (the company leader) may take advantage of me”
§ “I question my manager’s (the company leader’s)motives”
§ “I am sure they will take credit for my accomplishments”
· Departments do not cooperate with each other; We constantly practice the “blame game”
· Employees are Not Engaged - Employees do just enough to get through the day
Be honest. Do you recognize any of the above in your company? On the long personal and organizational “to do” list, accountability should be at the top of the list. Lack of accountability can paralyze an organization and prevent it from moving forward. If you see a fatal flaw in yourself, your current leaders, or your organization in any of the above, you should address it immediately.
In the next issue, we will address how to develop a culture of accountability and personal responsibility. Hint: It begins with you!